Hey there Steph - My mom has a ten and a half year old English Springer Spaniel. For several months now he has been losing his hair in patches and making his skin bleed. He was diagnoised with a thyroid condition. After being put on pills everyday, his condition has not changed. I've been telling my mom to seek another vet's opinion since nothing seems to be working. The new vet (hightly recommened) thinks it is Cushing's disease.
After doing a little research it definitely sounds like that is what my mom's dog has. All of the symptoms are there . . loss of the hair, drinking excessive water, having to pee a lot, pot-belly stomach, pants, loss of muscle. It would help out a lot if you could maybe do some more research for us on this disease. Not only for us, but it is important for other dog owners out there to be informed. Thanks bunches - Lisa
Cushing's Disease is when the adrenal gland produces too much corticosteroids. Some animals may be receiving prescription corticosteroids, so the new vet should fully evaluate any medications the dog is receiving regularly & stop certain treatments. In many cases, this can solve the problem. One very common medication that can cause this problem is prednisone.
If it's not due to medication, it's caused by a tumor in either the adrenal or pituitary gland. A simple blood panel can determine the hormone levels for a surefire diagnosis. Adrenal tumors can be removed by veterinary surgeons but pituitary tumors are usually not removed in animals.
There are drug treatments available for pituitary tumors but they need to be administered carefully. Basically, these treatments destroy part fo the gland so that the gland doesn't produce excess hormones. But if too much of the gland is destroyed, then you'll have the oposite problem of the gland not producing enough hormones which is just as much of a problem.
According to vetinfo.com the pituitary treatment won't cure the disease but it will ensure a better qaulity of life for your dog. The life-expectancy for a dog with Cushing's is about 2 years, but it's more of a guess than a statistic.
I hope that the vet can get to the bottom of the problem soon & start treatment. Please keep me updated on your dog's progress & let me know what's happening.